I’ll let you into a little secret.
Yesterday’s video only took two hours to make, from start to finish.
To put this into context, most videos I publish on the Mark Ellis Reviews YouTube channel take one or two days to fully produce.
Over the weekend, I thought I’d mix things up a bit; I wanted to create a quick reaction video to an almighty stink that had been slowly rising about Apple’s M2 chip.
So, on Monday morning, I fired up the studio, sat in front of the camera, and rambled on a bit.
Then, all hell broke loose.
Whipped into a frenzy
I won’t go into the full details of the controversy here, because I’ve written about it already. But, to summarise, a well-known YouTube channel that focuses its content on detailed benchmark tests has discovered that the M2 chip:
- is joined by a slower SSD in the 256GB configuration; and
- throttles much more than its predecessor when pushed to extremes.
This has resulted in a singular narrative leading up to the launch of the M2 MacBook Air. It goes something like this:
The M2 chip is slower than the M1 chip and doesn’t have adequate cooling. It is an absolute disaster and Apple isn’t being honest with its customers.
I don’t agree with this, at all. While the aforementioned tests do indeed demonstrate a deficiency with the M2, they don’t spell disaster for that chip, nor do they suggest Apple is doing everything it can to maximise profitability at the expense of user satisfaction.
The reduced SSD speeds only apply to the base model, and no one who buys that machine will ever notice them. The throttling was instigated by an 8K RAW video export from Final Cut Pro. Again, no one who buys these initial M2 machines will undertake that kind of work for anything other than an extreme hobby.
But, as you’d guess, this won’t stop the internet from whipping itself up into a frenzy.
I’m fairly convinced that the Apple Bashers spend most of their lives caged up, waiting to be released as soon as there’s a whiff of potential controversy. Because that’s exactly what happened as soon as I hit the publish button on yesterday’s video.
Here’s a taster of the responses I received within the comments section:
“I mean come on, Apple is clearly doing dirty here.”
“Mark, its <sic> not about who will notice and who wont <sic>, apple is selling crippled machines for the same price.”
“It’s not about who will notice. It’s a point of principle. Are <sic> Apple selling a less fast M2 MBP than the M1 in term of ssd speed? Yes. Does it matter if there is injustice but not many people notice? Of course it does.”
“So it’s okay for an <sic> 2nd generation chip to be slower in some cases to it’s <sic> previous gen counterpart because some people wouldn’t notice it. What an argument. Tim Cook would be so proud. We need more sheep like this one.”
“Apple is so powerful that even a defect is considered a feature.”
“Making a device that is a downgrade even if it is unnoticeable to the everyday user is shady and should be called out.”
“It doesn’t matter if the user won’t notice. What Apple did is just wrong.”
“What an apple <sic> fanboy you are.”
Honestly, they are so angry.
Yet, none of them can tell me exactly why.
The cookie-cutter response
I asked most of these red-faced, sweaty, furious commenters to answer a simple question:
What if a consumer buys the M2 MacBook Air and finds that it is more than fast enough for their needs?
No one could answer that question. They just returned to their lazy, cookie-cutter response of, “whether or not they notice is irrelevant – Apple is making a fool of us all”.
I pointed out that my question relates to what is likely to be 99% of M2 MacBook Air buyers; their use cases will never stray into the territory that will reveal any perceived deficiencies in SSD speeds or thermal efficiency.
That made no difference.
“So you’re telling me that if people don’t notice the problem, that’s ok? COME ON, MAN!”
Whether or not the vast majority of M2 MacBook Air customers notice what’s going on beneath the hood of their new pride and joy is completely relevant. Whether or not they are simply happy with their new purchase is also totally relevant. And it does not make them stupid or lied to.
No one is listening
This is what happens when you’re seen to ‘defend’ Apple – even though I made it abundantly clear during my video that I’m not doing that at all. I’m simply trying to protect the consumer.
Among the foot-stomping responses in the comments section, you’ll find several genuinely concerned consumers who are now questioning their decision to buy an M2 MacBook.
This is what I’m worried about. It’s why the hyperbolic reporting of M2 benchmark results is so dangerous; it gets misconstrued and ends with people cancelling what would have been excellent purchases.
The problem lies within the tech niche and the unjustifiable hatred some people have for specific brands. It blinkers their opinion and shuts them off to any possibility of a measured, constructive, informed response.
This episode is a perfect example of that. As pointed out by my podcast co-host, Rob, the YouTube channel that undertook the aforementioned tests offered a bunch of caveats that never surfaced during the furore that followed. They pointed out that Final Cut Pro probably needs a software update to take full advantage of the M2, and that the ‘fan curves’ were off but probably fixable by Apple. They even published a follow-up video in which it was more or less confirmed that the first video was intentionally click-baity in order to attract attention.
I had no idea about any of this because the internet took the most controversial thread and ran with it.
The moral of the story? If you’re at all worried about a new product based on sensationalist reporting and vein-busting comments threads, just wait until a few more reviews surface. The alternative is, trust me, exhausting.